Book review: Red Hat Fedora Core 6 Unleashed by <i>Andrew Hudson, Paul Hudson</i>

Book review: Red Hat Fedora Core 6 Unleashed by Andrew Hudson, Paul Hudson


Red Hat Fedora Core currently at version 6 is a popular GNU/Linux distribution competing with the likes of Ubuntu, Knoppix and Mandrivia. With a large, active and well publicized development community via the Red Hat-sponsored Fedora project, the distribution is well balanced and user friendly with the expected applications and polish with graphically intuitive helper tools. The book Red Hat Fedora Core 6 Unleashed published by Sams and authored by Andrew and Paul Hudson reflects the many aspects of this rich platform in a grandiose 1100 pages, DVD included.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

My first impression of the book was the obvious, wow what good value for your money. With 1100 pages of directly channeled commentary and a DVD with the described distribution, anyone wishing to install and maintain Fedora Core just has to buy this one book, install the software and read the problem specific chapters at the right moment.

Wow what good value for your money

The contents

Contained within this dense Fedora Core unleashed book are forty chapters and six sections of subject specific information. Starting from the basics of how to install the distribution, building the learning path through the discussion of how to manipulate the desktop and then diving into system administration, one sees the logic and structured route that the obviously experienced authors wish the readers to walk.

Section III is on the subject of system administration and contains my favourite chapter: chapter twenty on Xen—a virtualization system with much promise and a significant future.

Note: We now live in the multiple core generation where for optimum use of resources in server parks or even for the home server, virtualization is becoming the standard approach.

Chapter 20 defines, in a brief and let’s-get-to-the-point five pages, how to install your first full-blown virtual machine. Unfortunately, due to the compactness of the chapter a couple of the newer Fedora specific graphical tools were not fully mentioned.

Progressing further into the book, section IV details Fedora as a server platform, discussing Apache, databases, file and print services etc. For enterprise environments, chapters 27 on the subject of DNS and chapter 28 describing LDAP directory services are both highly practical and relevant.

The book continues with information on programming languages and then house keeping chores such as module management and the effective use of the YUM package manager.

By the time you have read this extensive content-rich information stream, you would have touched base with most aspects of managing GNU/Linux daily and also have had the pleasure of briefly reviewing many well known and functional free software applications.

By the time you have read this extensive content-rich information stream, you would have touched base with most aspects of managing GNU/Linux daily

Who’s this book for?

The book’s intended target is anyone searching for guidance using Fedora with emphasis on intermediate and advanced users. Being so extensive in content implies that most topics of interest for the stated audience are touched on.

Relevance to free software

Andrew and Paul Hudson’s writings detail a wide range of tools, applications and servers that are hosted within the Fedora Core distribution. The distribution itself of course is GPLed; therefore, this is a book on installing, configuring using and maintaining free software.

The book encompasses so many subjects that not only does it represent a significant learning opportunity, but it is a nicely grounded reference book on Fedora centric free software.

Pros

Red Hat Fedora Core 6 Unleashed is a consistent manual for a large range of distribution related topics. The attached DVD implies that you can experiment live as you walk through a learning path. Further, the book acts as a ready and easily digestible reference source, just waiting to be placed in your library proactively waiting for problem days (not that you ever have any).

Having such a broad range of topics implies that the reader gains confidence in many aspects of the underlying technologies.

Cons

Having such a broad range of topics also implies that sometimes potentially relevant details are dropped.

Title Red Hat® Fedora™ Core 6 Unleashed
Author Andrew Hudson, Paul Hudson
Publisher Sams
ISBN 0672329298
Year 2006
Pages 1128
CD included Yes (DVD with a copy of Fedora Core 6)
FS Oriented 10
Over all score 9

In short

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Biography

Alan Berg Bsc. MSc. PGCE, has been a lead developer at the Central Computer Services at the University of Amsterdam since 1998. In his spare time, he writes articles, book reviews and has authored three books. He has a degree, two masters and a teaching qualification. In previous incarnations, he was a technical writer, an Internet/Linux course writer, and a science teacher. He likes to get his hands dirty with the building and gluing of systems. He remains agile by playing computer games with his sons who (sadly) consistently beat him physically, mentally and morally at least twice in any given day.

You may contact him at reply.to.berg At chello.nl